Daily Archives: June 18, 2011

Advocaat shows Arsenal Arshavin’s user manual and Saturday’s transfer roundup

Arsenal’s transfer activity has been very impressive in recent weeks with player departures and arrivals being the order of the day. I’m the kind of guy that prefers the good news before the other so I’ll start with the transfer speculation involving the player’s that are likely to wear the Red and White next season.

There are fresh reports emerging that Arsenal has been linked with Roma’s skillful Montenegrin Mirko Vucinic. The media Vultures say that Vucinic’s price tag is a staggering £26m but his agent has already arrived in the shores of England to hold talks with Arsenal and Manchester United over the bloke. The 27-year old made 33 appearances for the Giallorossi last season and he scored 10 goals. His natural position is the center forward role but he’s also adept playing on the left wing or in the hole behind the striker. He has amazing dribbling skills and his technique with the ball is top-notch. His off the ball movement is a constant thorn for defenders and he’s a good finisher too.  The lad has been with AS Roma since 2006 and he has been the subject of constant speculation regarding his future at the club but he has never been vocal about leaving the Italian giants. When Arsenal played Roma in the Champions League knockout phase in 2009, Vucinic did well against us but he was the player that sent Roma packing with his penalty miss against Manuel Almunia.

I don’t believe that Wenger would cough out £26m for Vucinic because Arsenal is on the verge of signing Gervinho and we all know that the Ivorian’s introduction to the squad is likely to bring healthy competition so Vucinic’s introduction will certainly mean that another Gunner may have to pack his bags.

Arsenal has been linked with two Premier League center backs in recent weeks Chris Samba and Gary Cahill. Arsenal has already approached Blackburn for Samba’s services but Cahill’s £17m price tag has been a stumbling block for Arsenal. Wenger wanted to try a new approach which involved sending Ignasi Miquel on loan for an entire season so as to reduce the transfer fee but Bolton’s boss has said that he’ll do everything in his power to keep Cahill.

I ran a poll on my blog’s Facebook page to get the fans opinion about Samba and Cahill. 13% of the gooners wanted only Samba, 37% wanted only Cahill while 50% of the gooners that voted wanted both players at the club. Thomas Vermaelen is a centre back that’s also adept in the left back position but I’ll prefer to see the Verm strut his stuff in the heart of Arsenal’s defense than to see him run up and down the left flank because he clearly doesn’t have the pace to do that. Being a left back would also mean that Vermaelen will have to do a lot of crossing and we all know that it’s been ages since Verm had the chance to cross the ball consistently from the left flank.

Vermaelen is a defender that leaps like a frog, anticipates the ball superbly, tackles excellently and has an amazing sense of positioning. He also has a cool composed head and he orchestrates the defense very well. Let’s not forget that he has an eye for goal because he scored eight goals in his debut season at the club while Tottenham’s Defoe scored four goals in 22 matches. These are the attributes that won Vermaelen a place in the PFA Team of the Year in 2009 so I’m strongly in the opinion that Wenger should sign only Samba and forget about that English overhyped bloke. Owen Coyle has said that he’ll turn into a gladiator to keep Cahill and I sincerely hope that he wins the battle to keep his prized asset.

Moving over to player departures, Gael Clichy is the only name that has appeared in the spotlight by the media Vultures today. There was a point in time when they reported that Roma wanted to offer Jeremy Menez in a part exchange deal for Clichy but his agent, Alain Migliaccio has said that those claims are utter shite.  He said a lot of stuff but the pick of the bunch was,

“Swap deal with Arsenal’s Gael Clichy? I’ve known Wenger for a long time, he’s a friend but I know nothing about this.

All I can say is that at the moment we are waiting for AS Roma to contact us to let us know about the future of the player.”

Clichy has refused to sign the £80,000 per week contract tabled for him and he has also refused to give us the reason why he doesn’t want to. I thought that Nasri’s reason for not signing the initial £90,000 offered to him was best known to the Aliens that are about to attack Planet Earth but they’re scared because Chuck Norris still lives but Nasri cleared our doubt and said that he wanted more money. You’ll have to understand the angle Nasri came from because football is more or less a business where the players care more about the money than the passion. Wayne Rooney needed more money for a thing or two so he came up with a brilliant money-making tactic called,

“Threaten to go away and earn more”

And it worked for him because by the end of every month, £1,000,000 will be sitting pretty in his green account. Nasri tried to turn the tables by saying that he was waiting for Wenger’s transfer activity but we the gooners have decided to plead with the club to soothe his greedy demands. My friend and fellow Arsenal blogger Omar Almasri ran a poll about Nasri’s wage demands and a staggering 82% of the gooners voted in favour of Nasri’s wage increase.

Wenger has already told everyone that he’ll only favor a move abroad for Clichy but the media Vultures have wasted no time in lining a replacement for Wenger. Everybody’s favorite has been Leighton Baines but the newest name in the tabloids in Newcastle’s £8.5m rated Jose Enrique. When I was a kid growing up, I knew two Enriques, Enrique Iglesias the musician who sings about how women can run and hide but they can’t escape from his love and Luis Enrique the Barcelona defensive midfielder I adored in his playing days because that’s my preferred playing position in football although I’m more or less like an aggressive Flamini that has a Pirlo approach. Luis Enrique is presently the manager of the AS Roma.

Jose Enrique on the other hand is a 25-year old left back that has a knack for getting forward whenever possible. He’s also in the mold of players that use their right leg for support but in football it’s extremely useless. Superstars that are ranked in this category are Arjen Robben, David Silva, Angel Di Maria, Juan Manuel Mata and the World’s best left footed Chimpanzee, Gareth Bale. Jose Enrique started his career in Levante’s B team in 2004 before having single season stints with Valencia, Celta Vigo and Villarreal. Newcastle snapped him up for £6.25m in 2007 and he has been ever-present for them averaging at least 25 league games per season. The only silverware he has in his cabinet is the npower Championship medal he won with Newcastle in 2010. That’s one more than many Arsenal players who are yet to experience what standing on a podium feels like and I’m not writing about the Emirates Cup. As a player he’s not ranked among the best crossers in the galaxy but he has an amazing work rate and a never-say-die attitude. He’s also a composed lad that doesn’t buckle under pressure from opposition and he’s quite fast.

Should Clichy decide to leave the club, I’ll prefer Wenger to set his sights on Leighton Baines instead of Jose Enrique. For what it’s worth, Robin van Persie has killed too many birds that have flown past the Emirates with his free kicks so Baines is the kind of a player that would convert those free kicks to goals because he all know that he’s a gifted dead ball specialist.

Andrei Arshavin scored 10 goals and laid 17 assists last season but he wasn’t fully appreciated by many gooners. I can’t also deny that I’m among the angry gooner mob that wanted his head on a plate at some point in time. I also came under serious stick when I tagged Arshavin as Gooner Daily’s Worst Player of the Season in my End of Season Gooner Awards. What I intended to write was Gooner Daily’s Most Disappointing Player of the Season and I’ve changed it to that ever since but most of my readers fail to realize that I wrote that article according to the polls I created in the blog’s Facebook page.

Russia’s boss Dick Advocaat worked with Arshavin in his Zenit days so he has decided to show Wenger and the fans how to use Arshavin next season.  Two months ago, Rafa Benitez released Fernando Torres’ user manual to Chelsea but it was too little too late because my birthday mate Carlo Ancelotti got the boot at the end of the season.

Advocaat says,

One of his problems is that he plays 20 minutes per game. Arsenal head coach Arsene Wenger uses him as a player who can be fielded in the second half and who can refresh the game.

Andrey is showing willingness to give the team the best of what he has. I worked with him for over two years at Zenit and I know who he is. A brilliant player of a single episode.

At Arsenal it is not enough to be a player of an episode. Expecting from him a ninety-minute running means not knowing and not understanding Arshavin.

This manual will come in handy next season because Arshavin has the likes of Nasri and Gervinho to contend with next season.

The tweet of the day goes to the Red Detective,

“@Detective82: A back five of Szczesny, Sagna, Samba, Vermaelen and Jose Enrique doesn’t take prisoners. Power, pace, aggression and class. Arsene Wenger, make it happen”

At the rate he’s going, I’m sure he will.

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Patrick Vieira: A living legend

On the 23rd day of June, 1976, a legend in the making was born in Dakar, Senegal. 35 years on, he can look back at his career and give himself a good pat on his back because he has played in the best teams in the World and has won many trophies.

Patrick Vieira has enjoyed a career path that many footballers would envy. Having made his debut for France on the 26th of February, 1997 against the Netherlands, Vieira made 107 appearances for Les Bleus and scored 6 goals for the nation. He was part of the French Under-21 team that won the bronze medal in the European Under-21 Championships in 1996. Two years later, France hosted football’s biggest event and Vieira was part of the team that made history with a 3-0 final win against Brazil. Vieira and France went from strength to strength as David Trezeguet’s extra time winner was enough to hand them the European Championships in 2000.

France represented Europe in the Confederations Cup a year later and won the tournament. Vieira was also a part of the French squad that made it to the 2006 World Cup final only to lose to Italy thanks to David Trezeguet’s miss and Fabio Grosso’s final spot kick. Vieira didn’t make Raymond Domenech’s 2010 World Cup squad so he waved his goodbyes to international football on the 7th of July shortly after France’s disappointing and disgraceful campaign in South Africa. Sources claim that Vieira retired from France because he didn’t want to play under former teammate Laurent Blanc.

Vieira’s 13 years of service for France didn’t go unnoticed as he was honoured with the French Footballer of the Year in 2001. He was also inducted to the Team of the Tournament in the European Championships in 2000 and the World Cup in 2006.

Vieira started his club football in 1989 at FC Drouais but he didn’t get any appearance for the club. He then moved to Tours FC in 1991 but he wasn’t good enough to make their first team squad as well but he got his big break in 1993 when he joined AS Cannes where he made a total of 46 appearances in 3 years before moving to AC Milan. Vieira endured one disappointing campaign at the San Siro before he was snapped by Arsene Wenger for £3.5m.

Vieira graced Highbury for 9 magical years that saw him amass 279 league appearances and 28 goals for Arsenal Football Club. In his time under Wenger, Vieira lifted the Community Shield four times (1998, 1999, 2002 and 2004), the FA Cup four times (1998, 2002, 2003 and 2005) and the Premier League three times (1998, 2002 and 2004).

Arsenal''s last league title.....7 years ago

Vieira also won accolades for his contribution to Arsenal Football Club which includes a place on the PFA Team of the Year in six occasions and a place in the Premier League’s Team of the Decade. In 2001, he was honoured with a place in UEFA’s Team of the Year. He was also voted as Arsenal’s 5th best player of all time by the fans.

The good ol' days 🙁

The Champions League was the only trophy that eluded Vieira in Arsenal so he joined Juventus for £17.5m in 2005 but he featured for only one season because of the match fixing scandal that dented the image of Italian football on the World stage. Inter paid Juventus half of what they paid for him at Arsenal the next season so Vieira served the Italian giants for three years making 79 appearances and scoring 7 goals in 3 years. He won the Italian Super Cup twice in 2006 and 2008 and he was also a part of the Inter side that the Scudetto for three years in a row between 2007 and 2009.

Guess who won the Champions League? :p

He joined Manchester City in the winter transfer window for free and extended his contract with the club for 12 extra months. In his one and half year stint with the recent FA Cup winners, he played 15 league games and scored 2 goals. Manchester City failed to renew his contract so Vieira is available as a free agent. The media has linked the defensive midfielder with a move back to Arsenal because there’s no adequate depth in the holding role section of the team.

As a player, Vieira has many good technical attributes which include a good first touch, a wonderful heading ability, a good passing range and he’s also an excellent tackler of the ball. Vieira is also an aggressive character and his anticipation skills are second to none. He’s also a very composed player and his decision making is top-notch. Vieira also knows how to position himself well and he’s a force to be reckoned with in the air.

Should Arsenal decide to sign Vieira on a free transfer, these are the certain positives he can add to the squad:

At the age of 35, Vieira has seen it all in World football so his experience will be very vital to the squad because the younger lads in the squad buckled under pressure last season so a calm head like Vieira will steady the ship in the midfield.

Vieira is regarded as a fiery character that can give his all to the team so his performances and influence on the pitch will rub off on his teammates to strive to play better when the chips are down. There were countless games the Gunners failed to step up when the World was against them. Such games either ended in disappointing draws or crushing defeats.

A player like Vieira can be brought into the pitch to calm things down when Arsenal wants to preserve a win or he can also be brought on to see out the rest of the game. At his age he won’t expect to play week in week out of start every game but Arsenal is a club whose players suffer mysterious long term injuries and the holding midfield position is a part of the squad that has suffered damaging blows. Last season, Diaby spent a massive chunk of time out injured; so massive that 22 Arsenal players in the 25-man squad had more minutes than him. Song also had a period when he was injured and his absence was deeply felt by the squad. Denilson is a player that plays as if he’s not on the pitch because his performances are always lethargic.

Signing a player like Vieira will also have its negatives such as:

At the age of 35, Vieira will not be an ideal signing for a club like Arsenal. Arsene Wenger is accustomed for his usage of young players so signing a player like Vieira might not go down with some sections of the fans.

Vieira is an aging footballer so he certainly lacks the pace to keep up with the fast and grueling Premier League. This is a trait that will be exploited by faster teams.

Vieira was earning big bucks in his Manchester City days so it might be difficult for Arsenal to offer him ‘six digits’ because not many players in the club earn up to that range. Nasri had a good half season and has demanded to jump into the six-digit mark so paying a player like Vieira six digits is very likely to cause disruptions amongst some of the players because they may feel that he doesn’t deserve it.

Finally, the Premier League has set a rule for each team playing in the league to provide a list of just 25 players at the start of every season so adding a 35-year old to that list will not be in the club’s best interests.

Arsene Wenger re-signed Sol Campbell and Mad Jens Lehmann.

Who knows if Patrick Vieira could be third time lucky?

There’s one thing we the gooners know,

Patrick Vieira’s last kick as an Arsenal player won the club its last trophy.

The FA Cup final that took place in the Millennium Stadium on the 21st of May, 2005 under the officiating of Rob Styles.

The Final Kick

The sentence of the day goes to Monsieur Patrick Vieira.

“When they are in trouble, they always concede a goal, a big team when it’s under pressure, it pulls together, it makes the trouble go away. Sometimes you know you have difficult periods, even the best teams. You accept the opponent is stronger, you defend, you stay strong, more compact. You accept you have to suffer. We did it in the [2005] FA Cup final against Manchester United. I’ve no idea how we won – United were all over us for 90 minutes. We knew the only way to win was penalties. Some days are like this. It’s not your day. Accept it and find a different way to win. Fight for each other. It’s not the way you want, but what’s important is to win.”

Food for thought, Arsene Wenger.